The Consumer Protection Fund (the Fund) compensates consumers who suffer a financial loss as a result of fraud, breach of trust, or a failure to disburse or account for money held in trust by a licensee.
Licensees pay a fee when they enter the industry that RECA holds in trust for the Fund. Additional, as outlined in the Real Estate Act, all income from investment of the Fund gets paid directly back into the Fund.
A lawyer can advise if you might qualify for compensation from the Fund, and if you might require a civil claim prior to making a claim from the Fund.
You may also proceed without a lawyer.
To learn more about the process of filing a lawsuit and obtaining a judgment, visit the Alberta Justice website. Information on commencing a civil claim is under the heading “Civil Claim.”
There are three instances where a person may make a claim against the Fund. A licensee:
The following persons cannot make a claim under the Fund:
Assurance Fund compensation is subject to the following maximums:
Real estate: $35,000 per Fund applicant
$350,000 for all claims against a licensee per event
Mortgage broker: $25,000 per Fund applicant
$100,000 for all claims against a licensee per event
For a claim based on fraud or breach of trust, you have one (1) year from the date of the Court Judgment to apply for compensation from the Fund.
For a claim based on failure to disburse or account for money held in trust, you have one (1) year from the date on which the alleged loss or damages occurred to apply for compensation from the Fund.
RECA cannot process your claim if you fail to adhere to this timeline.
If you have additional questions or comments, please call the Real Estate Council of Alberta at (403) 228-2954 or toll free at 1-888-425-2754. You can also write us at:
Attention: Hearings and General Counsel Administrator
Real Estate Council of Alberta
Suite 202, 1506 11 Avenue SW
Calgary, AB T3C 0M9
Email questions to RECA at firstname.lastname@example.org. Be sure to direct your question to General Counsel and include “Consumer Protection Fund” in your subject line.
For more information, read the Real Estate Act Part 4 – Real Estate Assurance Fund (Consumer Protection Fund is the plain language name of the REAF). You may also read a full copy of the Real Estate Act on the RECA website.
Applications based on fraud or breach of trust require a Judgement from the Courts.
An application to the Fund must include:
You should also advise of any attempts made to collect on the judgment.
Any person intending to make a claim against the Fund must:
Where to File Your Lawsuit
You may sue in Provincial Court or in the Court of Queen’s Bench. Provincial Court is often faster, less expensive and less legally complicated than the Court of Queen’s Bench. However, judgment recovery amounts differ between the two courts. You should contact the courts or a lawyer for more information in order to determine what court process better suits the specifics of your case.
Time Limits for Filing a Lawsuit
There are time limits to file a statement of claim with the courts, and a failure to abide by the time limits will result in RECA barring your claim (See Limitations Act). For more information regarding time limits for filing a claim, please refer to the Alberta Courts website.
You do not require a judgement from the Courts when making a claim for compensation resulting from a failure to disburse or account for monies held in trust under section 25 of the Real Estate Act.
Industry professionals hold money in trust for clients and consumers, and must account for that money and disburse it in accordance with the terms of trust in Offers to Purchase or relationships agreements.
Failure to account or disburse trust money contravenes the Real Estate Act.
Claimants to the Fund for such a situation must provide the Council with:
RECA can provide a Statutory Declaration form.